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Guest Post — English Lessons Online vs. Lessons in Traditional Schools


These days, many more English students are choosing to take Skype English classes over lessons at private language schools because of better internet access and cheaper prices. If you are thinking about taking a course and you are not sure whether to learn English online or not, you should think about these three things: the location, time and your way of learning. This article discusses how learning English in a traditional school can be different from studying English on the internet, and how to make the best choice for yourself.

One of the first things to consider is where you want to learn English: would you rather study in your pyjamas on the couch at home, engaging in the cyber world, or be in a conventional classroom sitting at a desk with a pen, paper and surrounded by classmates? Some learners feel more comfortable studying in the privacy of their home and are able to work without getting sidetracked by children, the phone, TV or other distractions. For others, saving a lot of time by not travelling to their lessons and back home is a big advantage. But many students can’t keep focused at home and need the motivation of the teacher and other students to make them study hard.

Another thing to think about is how often and at what time you want to take your lessons. Some students find it useful to go straight to English lessons after finishing work because they are already out of the house and in the mood to work. Parents might consider sending their children to English summer camps during school vacation or at the weekends to keep their kids in a set routine. However, lots of people who work full time or care for their family are not always able to follow a set timetable and prefer the flexibility that English classes over the internet can offer. It’s usually possible to choose your own hours and days of the week for classes because you don’t have to fit your timetable around other students. This also makes it easier to reschedule your class if something else comes up at the last minute.

How you interact
There are both pros and cons to learning English either online or in a traditional class depending on the type of person you are. For really sociable people who like to interact with others, sharing a class with many other students is ideal. You can work in groups and learn a lot about people from different backgrounds. It also gives you the opportunity to speak with those who share your English level, which can improve your confidence in speaking. When you study online, it’s much more common to work alone with a teacher. The advantage is that you have the opportunity to talk with a native English speaker and the lessons are more focused on your needs and desires, rather than those of a group. This type of learning is more intense, and may better suit a student who wants to improve quickly.

How you learn
Everyone learns differently, whether they are a visual learner (with images and photos), an audio learner (through listenings and songs) or a kinaesthetic learner (with movement), to name but a few. These learning styles apply to any type of learning, including English. Conventional classroom learning is more suitable for people who learn with movement because of the opportunity to touch, cut, paste, draw or play with objects in the classroom, be involved in physical activities or play games. These tactile types of learners might also prefer to use a textbook and notepad with real physical pages they can write and draw on.

Virtual classrooms over the internet might be more attractive to visual and audio learners who like to interact with the pictures and photos, music and videos that can be shared during their lesson. Tech-savvy students also tend to appreciate that lessons can be saved on their computer and that they can type rather than write things down.

All in all, whether you are considering taking an English course over Skype or at a language academy, don’t forget the most important part: your English lessons should suit your schedule and learning style. In the end, this is what will motivate you to learn English!

This post was written by Hannah Yurk Hannah Yurk, Online Academy Manager and Administrator of Break Into English, a company that specializes in online English classes via Skype.